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Providing a Thanksgiving for those in need

CHESTERTOWN — While the holidays are a joyous time to spend with family for some, for others, they are wrought with uncertainty and insecurity, particularly when it comes to feeding the family.

This Thanksgiving, Chestertown restaurants Phat Daddy’s BBQ, 205 Spring Ave., and The Kitchen at the Imperial, 208 High St., are both serving a free dinner.

Phat Daddy’s will be providing dinners from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25.

Dinners will be packaged for take out, but patrons are welcome to dine in, according to a Facebook post.

Phat Daddy’s dinner is in partnership with Community Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization.

The Kitchen will be serving dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. Reservations are suggested.

At the carving station, the Kitchen will serve herb roasted leg of lamb with mint jelly, house cured and smoked ham or roast turkey breast. Buffet selections include glazed sweet potato, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, roasted asparagus, herbed stuffing, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls.

Desert is courtesy of the Lapp Family Bakery.

Restaurants were not the only organizations providing free meals to the community.

Minary’s Dream Alliance hosted a turkey giveaway for Kent County residents with preregistration. Pickup for turkeys was 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21.

The turkey giveaway was in partnership with Kent County Community Food Pantry and the Chestertown Rotary Club.

Chestertown, Rock Hall host holiday events this weekend

CHESTERTOWN — While everyone finishes their Thanksgiving leftovers this weekend, the Main Street organizations for Chestertown and Rock Hall are kicking off the Christmas season with a slate of events.

Chestertown’s holiday season officially kicks off on Friday evening, Nov. 26 as the mayor turns on the holiday lights in Fountain Park and members of the Kent County Community Marching Band herald Santa’s arrival by fire truck.

The lighting ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 7 p.m. and will visit with children in his house until 8 p.m. Hot chocolate will be available for purchase from the local Boy Scout troop.

The next day, Saturday, Nov. 27, Santa presides over the annual Kent County Christmas Parade, beginning at 10 a.m. and filling High Street with marching bands, classic automobiles, various floats and familiar characters such as Rudolph, Olaf and the Grinch.

Parade judges will award cash prizes to entrants in each category. Participation in the parade is open to everyone. If you are interested in entering a float or marching as a group, call Kristen Owen at 410-778-1600 or email kowen@mainstreetchestertown.org.

The parade assembles in the Chestertown Business Park, on Dixon Drive, and proceeds down High Street to Spring Street. Because the farmers and artisans markets will take place as usual in the 200 and 300 blocks of High Street, the public is encouraged to view the parade from upper High Street. The reviewing stand will be on the corner of Spring Avenue and High Street.

Santa will be in his Fountain Park house seeing children after the parade until 1 p.m. He will keep the same hours on the following Saturday, Dec. 4 during the Dickens of a Christmas weekend. He will be receiving children from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 11, and Dec. 18. Children will receive gift bags from Santa courtesy of Twigs and Teacups.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, the community celebrates Small Business Saturday with shopping in downtown Chestertown. This nationwide event spotlighting independently owned shops and businesses provides an opportunity to reinvest holiday shopping dollars in the local economy and find some unique gifts, too.

Rock Hall invites holiday shoppers to join in the fun with the “Merry Mascots” beginning on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27.

According to a news release, participants will have chances to win $50 gift certificates to select Rock Hall businesses.

Mascot photo op cut-outs represent the following favorites: Great Blue Heron, Oyster, Rockfish, Eagle, Duck, Swan, Goose, Crab, Osprey and a Jellyfish. They will be located at, or around, local small businesses.

Simply take your picture with one of the “Merry Mascots” and post to social media. Be sure to include #RockHallMascots in your post.You may be the winner of one of the $50 gift certificates to Rock Hall businesses.

At least one winner will be drawn each week beginning on Saturday, Dec. 4 and ending on Saturday, Jan. 1.

Take advantage of this fun promotion by including Rock Hall as one of your holiday destinations for shopping, dining and getting to know a “Merry Mascot,” the release states.

This promotion is co-sponsored by Main Street Rock Hall and the Greater Rock Hall Business Association.

For more information about Chestertown’s holiday activities, visit the Main Street Chestertown Facebook page, email office@mainstreetchestertown.org or call 410-778-2991. Visit www.MainStreetRockHall.org and click on “Events” or email MainStreetRockHall@gmail.com for more information about Rock Hall’s offerings.

WC alum wins National Geographic Explorer Award for amphibian research

CHESTERTOWN — Washington College graduate and Mid-Shore resident Norman Greenhawk has won the 2021 National Geographic Explorer Award for Project Palaka, a conservation project for native Philippine amphibians.

Greenhawk was raised in Cordova. He graduated from Easton High School, then attended Washington College where he studied environmental science. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“I’ve always liked both reptiles and amphibians,” Greenhawk said in a Zoom interview from the Philippines Monday, Nov. 22. “Ever since I was a kid.”

Greenhawk recalled his grandmother telling him to go outside when he was growing up, which he said he never wanted to do.

“As soon as I was outside, a switch had been flipped and all I wanted to do was catch toads, chase the little skinks, turtles, anything like that. That’s what I enjoyed doing as a child,” Greenhawk said.

As a teenager, Greenhawk kept reptiles and amphibians as pets. He even bred some on a small scale.

“It’s just something that I’ve always focused on,” Greenhawk said.

In 2008, Greenhawk was living in Puerto Rico doing tropical ecology, working with reptiles and amphibians. It was because of this work that Greenhawk decided to do a conservation project in the Philippines as part of his Fulbright scholarship.

“There’s nobody doing captive breeding,” Greenhawk said of his trying to figure out what he had to offer to the conservation work in the Philippines. “There’s a lot of species of amphibians that are in native conservation. ... Nobody had tried the captive breeding approach.”

In 2015, Greenhawk was awarded a Fulbright, and moved to the Philippines to partner with the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.

“That first project was basically to demonstrate the feasibility of such a project,” Greenhawk said of their attempts at developing captive care protocols for ex-situ — or off-site — conservation using species with stable populations.

That research became known as Project Palaka.

After his Fulbright research ended, Greenhawk shut the project down and moved back to Puerto Rico.

“I had always kept in the back of my mind restarting the project,” Greenhawk said.

During that time, Greenhawk completed his master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Puerto Rico in 2019.

Greenhawk eventually partnered with Amphibian Ark, an organization involved in amphibian conservation.

He researched a critical endangered species — one that is so threatened that if immediate action is not taken it will go extinct — of frogs in the Philippines called platymantis insulatus, or the island forest frog.

“I thought, ‘Well, we demonstrated that this project can be done, so if I were to move back to the Philippines, it’s time to start working with some species that actually needs conservation efforts,’” Greenhawk said.

He partnered again with the University of the Philippines and moved back to the Philippines in 2019.

Greenhawk’s Fulbright research would become Phase I of Project Palaka. Phase II is the conservation efforts of the island forest frog.

Also a part of Phase II is an expansion of facilities, goals and the list of reptiles and amphibians to conserve. There will also be additional outreach and education efforts, working with students at every level.

Despite being back in the Philippines, Greenhawk’s project could not begin again right away for lack of funding.

Greenhawk next partnered with Asian Species Action Partnership, which was looking for someone to do work with the island forest frog species.

From there, financial partnerships with Mandai Nature, Synchronicity Earth and Stiftung Artenshutz were formed.

It was during this time that Greenhawk submitted an application to National Geographic for funding for Project Palaka. He secured that funding by winning the 2021 National Geographic Explorer Award.

Greenhawk recalled growing up and watching nature shows with his grandparents, including National Geographic documentaries.

“We finally made it to the field to actually collect these frogs this last July,” Greenhawk said.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 marked the milestone of 100 days in captivity for the frogs. Breeding for the frogs has not begun yet, but they are maintaining and gaining weight. Breeding will likely begin in March.

Aside from work in the Philippines, Greenhawk also is interested in working with the communities he has come to be a part of throughout his career.

As of September, Greenhawk has a Maryland nonprofit incorporation — Harris Conservation Initiative for Reptiles and Amphibians — named after his grandparents.

Through the initiative, he hopes to give back and provide opportunities for low-income students to do collaborative environmental research.

“Just looking at the opportunities I’ve had, I would love for other students to have it as well,” Greenhawk said.

He said the program would likely work where students from one country were able to do research in another based on the partnerships he has formed in the countries he has worked in.

That project is still in the development stage, but Greenhawk hopes it will take off in the next year or two.

More information on Project Palaka can be found at projectpalaka.org or facebook.com/projectpalaka.

Brighter Christmas Fund
Single mom needs help for Christmas

Debra is single mother who has been out of work since October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her unemployment has run out, and her savings is almost gone.

Debra has COPD and cannot wear a mask, which has made it difficult for her to find a new job, she said.

While the family receives food stamps and medical assistance, the little money they have must go to pay the rent. There’s no money left over for presents.

Debra would love to be able to give her daughter, Darla, a few gifts for Christmas.

Your donation to the Brighter Christmas Fund would help provide a brighter Christmas for Debra and Darla.

The Brighter Christmas Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, and tax-deductible donations, which also help other families in need on the Mid-Shore, may be sent to The Brighter Christmas Fund, c/o The Star Democrat, P.O. Box 600, Easton, MD 21601. Donations also may be made online via credit card or Paypal at www.brighterchristmasfund.org. Click the “Donate” button.

For more information about the Fund, call 410-200-1884.

The total to date is: $23,305.

Those sharing the spirit of giving with others this holiday include:

Delmarva Chapter 570 Military Order of the Purple Heart

Tim Kagan Jr.

Della M. Andrew

Jean C. Everngam

Diana and Sherwood Johnson

Elinor S. and Arthur B. Cecil III

Idlewild Ruritan Club

Gloria A. Gibson

Carolyn W. Roslund

Margaret M. Lane

In Memory of Mary Ann Blakeney Abeska

In Memory of Judith J. Compton

Valerie G. S. & Thomas E. Hirsch III

Kenneth M. Miller

Phoebe C. Reynolds


Carla C. Howell

Chestnut Grove United Methodist Women’s

Carter N. Jump

Easton Lions Club

Women’s Club of St. Michaels

Cathy and Thomas E. Hill

Virginia and Michael E. Borner

Lesley L. and Fred Israel


Cynthia Miller

Gene and Cindy Counihan